The new fiscal year is a time when we examine even more closely than usual our own agency budget. Sunny Hills is continuing to monitor the state fiscal crisis very closely, and also continuing to examine strategies related to that crisis. Given that the mental health funding streams represent approximately 50% of our revenue budget, we have reason to believe the impact on the agency will be minimal. Our greatest concerns fall into two areas: special education funding, particularly for the Marin Academic Center (MAC) program, and Kinship services.
For MAC, we are concerned because the state is considering discontinuing funding for mental health services to special education students (known as 3632 funding). This means that the burden will fall to counties to fund entirely these programs. (In the past, counties were reimbursed by the state for the majority of these programs' costs). The California Alliance of Child and Family Services (of which Sunny Hills is a member agency) noted in a recent memo that "Since 2001-2002 ... county mental health departments have struggled to provide pAB 3632 services] without receiving adequate resources ... According to the California Mental Health Directors Association, counties are currently owed over $500 million in back payments for AB 3632 services, so the proposed 'deferment' of funds would be of grave concern."
For our Kinship programs, concern stems from the additional budget cuts being proposed. The programmatic cuts that the Governor and Legislature began speaking publicly about after the special election, which are intended to redress the better than 24 billion dollar budget deficit that California now faces, would eliminate funding for Kinship support services.
We are hopeful that the state legislature will be able to find ways to address the fiscal crisis without cutting funding for these programs, which serve many of the most highly vulnerable children and families in California. As we continue working to help these families and young people, we are especially thankful for the private support we receive from the Sunny Hills community of donors. Summer is normally a time when people vacation with their families and the inflow of private contributions to Sunny Hills typically slows down. This summer, with the state fiscal crisis on everyone's mind, we hope you will consider supporting our agency in whatever way you can: our upcoming golf tournament is a wonderful way to enjoy the summer weather while supporting children who really need your help. Every gift of every size matters to the children we serve.
Thank you, as always, for your continued support of Sunny Hills.